August 10, 2018

Blog on holiday until August 19; plus Dolphins drop preseason opener, sharing news about my health scare & more

GREG COTE'S RANDOM EVIDENCE BLOG: MIAMI. SPORTS. AND BEYOND.

1) The blog's on holiday. We'll see you back here on Sunday, August 19. 2) Football's back so it's the perfect time to delight the Dolfans in your life with the surprise of our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out here on Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): One Hurricane in college football Top 50, Cassius Clay at 19, Tannehill in PFF QB ranking & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Personal note 1: Health scare: I shared the news on my Twitter feed (see below) last evening. If this encourages even one person to get a checkup or not ignore something that doesn't feel quite right in their body, it will have been worth it. Take care of yourselves.

Personal note 2: Vacation: I'm on vacation this week and next so you'll see less of me in the newspaper (online and print), and in this blog. I'll also not be on the LeBatard Show on ESPN Radio this week or next. Meantime here are a few select recent columns: NFL Enters Year 3 Of Anthem-Protest QuagmireGore Back In Miami Is The Perfect End RunDolphins Need a Better Tannehill, Not Just A Healthy OneTo The Good-Guy Grinder In The Shades (on death of Tony Sparano). Dolphins Results Will Exceed Brutal OffseasonSoccer Stadium Progress, But Much Work LeftReasons For Hope As Jeter Plan Takes RootTime to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports TownCan Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? When 3 World Cup Legends Were Ours.

PS1: TAMPA BAY 26, DOLPHINS 24: ARE YOU READY FOR SOME (SORT OF/ALMOST) FOOTBALL!?: My entire deposition on the significance of who wins a preseason opener is as follows: "Miami's 1972 DoltbPerfect Season began with a loss in the first exhibition game. The 2007 team that went 1-15 began the preseason with a win." In other words, whether the Dolphins win by 20 or lose by 20 tonight vs. Tampa Bay in Fake Game 1 at Hard Rock Stadium won't matter much in the big picture. It's a dress rehearsal. Starters likely will play only the first half. The final score will matter less than Adam Gase shaking out his entire roster with future cuts in mind, and seeing how young guys perform under (compared to practices) a facsimile of game pressure. For rookies like tight end Mike Gesicki, tonight is big. "It’s exciting. It’s something that I have been working for and waiting for for a long, long time," he said Wednesday. "Getting off this practice field, going and playing a different team, lining up against a different color, just all of that stuff. It’s going to be exciting." A few things I was watching for: Ryan Tannehill looking sharp (and healthy) after missing the past 24 consecutive games injured including preseason. Who's going to step up and seize the open starting cornerback role opposite Xavien Howard? Minkah Fitzpatrick making the plays that made you nod and know why he was a first-round pick. P.S., Kenny Stills and Albert Wilson knelt during the anthem.

OUR APSE-HONORED COLUMNSThe Associated Press Sports Editors 2018 writing awards ranked me a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Thanks, APSE. Here are the nominated columns that earned the honor: At Doral, an annual tradition since 1962 is replaced by silence, and by what's missing  /  Marlins' Jose Fernandez statue is divisive yet has a chance to serve a greater purpose  /  NFL has moral obligation to help Buonicontis and Kiicks while it limits future suffering  /  What led to El Clasico Miami began with Joe Robbie's unlikely, accidental love of soccer  / With 59 home runs, Stanton still had a magic season. Just hope this wasn't goodbye.

Revisit our blog often because we update and add to our latest posts throughout the day.

Twitter @gregcote

August 08, 2018

One Hurricane makes list of Top 50 college football players entering 2018 season; plus Cassius Clay at 19, Ryan Tannehill's rank in new PFF rating, personal note & more

GREG COTE'S RANDOM EVIDENCE BLOG: MIAMI. SPORTS. AND BEYOND.

1) It's WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 8. Football's back so it's the perfect time to delight the Dolfans in your life with the surprise of our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out here on Amazon. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10, your verdict on Dwyane Wade's next move, 4-Man Outfield & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Personal note: On radio, vacation: I am on vacation this week and next so you'll see less of me in the newspaper (online and print), although I'll still be tending to this blog regularly. I'll not be on the LeBatard Show on ESPN Radio these two Tuesdays (yesterday or next week) before returning. Meantime here are my two most recent columns. Click on NFL Enters Year 3 Of Anthem-Protest Quagmire and Gore Back In Miami Is The Perfect End Run. One is on Roger Goodell's cluelessness, and the other is a feelgoodie on ex-Cane Frank Gore back in the 3-0-5 for first time in 14 years.

ShaqONE HURRICANE MAKES COLLEGE  FOOTBALL TOP  50: Better than nothing, I suppose. One Miami Hurricanes makes ESPN's new Top 50 ranking of the best players in college football entering the 2018 season. Unsurprisingly, it's inside linebacker Shaq Quarterman, the tackle machine, who makes it at No. 48. Quarterman (pictured) figures as the figurative and literal center of what should be a formidable UM defense. Four other state-college players make it: No. 20 UCF quarterback McKenzie Milton, No. 21 FSU running back Cam Akers, No. 34 FSU cornerback Levonta Taylor and No. 50 FAU running back Devin Singletary. Click here for the full story and top-50 list.

Clay19ALI (THEN STILL CASSIUS CLAY) in MIAMI BEACH AT AGE 19: Saw this photo on Pinterest. Unfortunately there was no credit given to a photographer, but clearly it was taken at the original 5th Street Gym on Miami Beach, reportedly in 1961 when the then-still Cassius Clay would have been 19. Clay would change his name to Muhammad Ali three years later. Notice the spanking clean signage and what appears to be a freshly painted wall. That's a far cry from the dingy, dilapidated charm the place would take on before the building at last was demolished in 1993. 

RyantDOLPHINS' TANNEHILL 24TH IN NEW QB RANKING: From Pro Football Focus, for what it's worth, comes a new ranking of all 32 expected starting quarterbacks entering the '18 season, and Miami's Ryan Tannehill (pictured) checks in a rather disrespected No. 24. Old man Tom Brady of the Patriots is No. 1, but the other two QBs in the AFC East form the list's caboose: the Jets' Josh McCown 31st and the Bills' A.J. McCarron 32nd.

Other recent columnsDolphins Need a Better Tannehill, Not Just A Healthy One, on start of training camp, and To The Good-Guy Grinder In The Shades, on the death of Tony Sparano. Also: Dolphins Results Will Exceed Brutal OffseasonSoccer Stadium Progress, But Much Work LeftReasons For Hope As Jeter Plan Takes RootTime to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports TownCan Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? When 3 World Cup Legends Were Ours.

OUR APSE-HONORED COLUMNS: The Associated Press Sports Editors 2018 writing awards ranked me a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Thanks, APSE. Here are the nominated columns that earned the honor: At Doral, an annual tradition since 1962 is replaced by silence, and by what's missing  /  Marlins' Jose Fernandez statue is divisive yet has a chance to serve a greater purpose  /  NFL has moral obligation to help Buonicontis and Kiicks while it limits future suffering  /  What led to El Clasico Miami began with Joe Robbie's unlikely, accidental love of soccer  / With 59 home runs, Stanton still had a magic season. Just hope this wasn't goodbye.

Revisit our blog often because we update and add to our latest posts throughout the day.

Twitter @gregcote

August 03, 2018

What will Dwyane Wade do? Poll. 4 choices. Last chance to vote!; plus NFL's continuing clueless quagmire on anthem protests, Zach Thomas and Canton, ode to Frank Gore's return to Miami & more

GREG COTE'S RANDOM EVIDENCE BLOG: MIAMI. SPORTS. AND BEYOND.

1) It's FRIDAY, AUGUST 3. Goodbye July. Didn't like you much. Be better, August! 2) Click on Greg Cote Tuesday for the best-of podcast from Tuesday's LeBatard Show on ESPN Radio. 3) Football's back so it's the perfect time to delight the Dolfans in your life with the surprise of our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out here on Amazon. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10, your verdicts on Dolphins outlook and Tannehill, 4-Man Outfield & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

GoodellLatest column: NFL, Goodell still clueless on protests: We have now entered Year 3 of the NFL's public relations nightmare over (some) players taking a knee during the pregame national anthem to protest social injustice. In May the league enacted what I call a Go-Hide policy that ruled all players on the field must stand and those who wish not to stand must be off the field and out of view. But blowback from the NFLPA put that policy on hold. So there is no policy at the moment, just presidential tweets and NFL cluelessness. (Combatants Roger Goodell and Donald Trump are pictured). I explore in my latest column. To read, click NFL Enters Year 3 Of Anthem-Protest Quagmire.

GoreTHE PERFECT END RUN: AN ODE TO FRANK GORE COMING HOME: Frank Gore is the 39th former Miami Hurricane to play for the Dolphins, but his homecoming feels more full-circle, more right than any of the others. He'll be the first Cane-turned-Dolphin to reach Canton and the Hall of Fame. Born and raised in Miami, now back here at age 35, the NFL's oldest running back, and still trying to  prove himself. I spoke privately to Gore (pictured) after a Dolphins practice this week and write about his homecoming, how it happened and how it makes him feel, in this column. To read it, click on Gore Back In Miami Is The Perfect End Run. Gore is not here in a ceremonial/mentor role only. Coach Adam Gase envisions more emphasis on the ground game this season, with Kenyan Drake and Gore expected to carry the major load. Who'll start is to be determined, but I'd imagine their touches will be similar, though perhaps with an edge for Drake because of his youth.

Other recent columnsDolphins Need a Better Tannehill, Not Just A Healthy One, on start of training camp. To The Good-Guy Grinder In The Shades, on the death of Tony Sparano. Also: Dolphins Results Will Exceed Brutal OffseasonSoccer Stadium Progress, But Much Work LeftReasons For Hope As Jeter Plan Takes RootTime to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports TownCan Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? When 3 World Cup Legends Were Ours.

WadePOLL: ON DWYANE WADE'S PENDING DECISION: Within a few weeks the Heat expects free agent Dwyane Wade (pictured) to inform them of his intentions for the 2018-19 season. There is no indication he will join LeBron in L.A. or sign with any other NBA team. By all accounts he will A) play another season with Miami, B) retire, or C) follow the money to the Chinese Basketball League. This poll is not asking what you hope happens, but what you predict will happen -- what you'd bet on. Vote!

ZachSUPPORT FOR MY ZACH THOMAS-FOR-CANTON CAMPAIGN: Recently Kyle Brandt, a host of Good Morning Football on the NFL Network, spoke out about and also Tweeted why former Dolphins linebacker Zach Thomas deserves to be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, emphasizing the similarity of his career accomplishments with those of newly minted first-ballot Canton inductee Brian Urlacher. Maybe Kyle read my column? I made the same case for Zach six months ago, this past Feb. 5. To read that column, click The Case for Zach Thomas And Canton.

OUR APSE-HONORED COLUMNSThe Associated Press Sports Editors 2018 writing awards ranked me a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Thanks, APSE. Here are the nominated columns that earned the honor: At Doral, an annual tradition since 1962 is replaced by silence, and by what's missing  /  Marlins' Jose Fernandez statue is divisive yet has a chance to serve a greater purpose  /  NFL has moral obligation to help Buonicontis and Kiicks while it limits future suffering  /  What led to El Clasico Miami began with Joe Robbie's unlikely, accidental love of soccer  / With 59 home runs, Stanton still had a magic season. Just hope this wasn't goodbye.

Revisit our blog often because we update and add to our latest posts throughout the day.

Twitter @gregcote

July 28, 2018

Dolphins time! Training Camp Special: 2 new polls on season expectations and Ryan Tannehill (with my latest column). Last day to vote!; plus R.I.P. Tony Sparano, modest outlook for Heat, The List (Fins coaches by tenure) & more

GREG COTE'S RANDOM EVIDENCE BLOG: MIAMI. SPORTS. AND BEYOND.

1) It's SATURDAY, JULY 28. Click on Greg Cote Tuesday for this week's best-of LeBatard Show podcast. Contained therein: the new Back In My Day (Eyesight!). Go to my Twitter feed for direct link. 2) Delight the Dolfans in your life with the surprise of our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out here on Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10, your verdict on Dolphins' new anthem policy, 4-Man Outfield & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

DoltannyTWO NEW DOLPHINS POLLS -- ON EXPECTATIONS, TANNEHILL -- AS TRAINING CAMP BEGINS: The NFL offseason segues into the preseason as teams start training camp, and Miami's first full practice was Thursday. So football's back! Sort of. And so it quarterback Ryan Tannehill, healthy again after missing the past Dolhelmet20 games in a row dating to late 2016 due to knee injuries. The Fins are pegging their improvement over last year's 6-10 record largely on Tannehill's return. But as I write in my latest column previewing training camp, Miami needs a new and improved Tannehill. Miami needs him to be what he has not been thus far in his pro career: A difference-maker able to lift a team and put it on his shoulders. To read that latest column, click Dolphins Need a Better Tannehill, Not Just A Healthy One. Our two polls below invite you to set the early expectations for this Dolphins season -- what you honestly expect or would bet on, not what you hope for -- and also to weigh in on your confidence level in Tannehill as he enters his seventh NFL season. Granted both answers could change over the next month-plus, but let's get a quick Dolfan pulse-read as training camp begins. Both polls await you. Vote now!

TonysREMEMBERING TONY SPARANO, 1961-2018: The Dolphins' head coach in 2008-11, Tony Sparano passed away unexpectedly on Sunday at age 56 at his Eden Prairie, Minn. home, days from beginning his third season as Vikings offensive line coach. To read my column on Tony, click To The Good-Guy Grinder In The Shades. The Dolphins have had 12 head coaches (including interim guys), and Sparano is only the second to pass away, following inaugural expansion-era coach George Wilson, who died at age 64 in 1978. Sparano coached 61 games with Miami. Only Don Shula (obviously), Dave Wannstedt (73) and Jimmy Johnson (64) had longer tenures. Sparano will be remembered for leading the turnaround from a 1-15 season to 11-5, for bringing the Wildcat formation back into NFL vogue and, ultimately, for being disrespected by owner Stephen Ross, who flew west to woo Jim Harbaugh with Sparano still on the job. He also will be remembered for constantly being mistakenly called Tony Soprano and for wearing sunglasses indoors at at night -- not to look cool, but due to an eye condition. I find it interesting to note Sparano's career winning percentage with the Dolphins was .4754 and that the coaches since him are a combined .4747. If Sparano didn't prove to be the answer, well, they're still looking. Sparano may have been a better assistant than a head coach when all was said and done, but he was a quality football man and a good guy. R.I.P.

Other recent columnsDolphins Results Will Exceed Brutal OffseasonSoccer Stadium Progress, But Much Work LeftReasons For Hope As Jeter Plan Takes RootTime to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports TownCan Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? When 3 World Cup Legends Were OursTannehill's Defining Season.

7ESPN SAYS HEAT IS BARELY A PLAYOFF TEAM NOW: The Worldwide Leader's new NBA Power Rankings are out, notably including the impact of LeBron-to-Lakers and Kawhi-to Raptors. The top five: Warriors, Celtics, Rockets, 76ers, Raptors. Miami is slotted 20th overall and seventh in the East, after the aforementioned three plus Pacers, Wizards and Bucks. Heat was a sixth seed last season but has idled through a whisper-quiet offseason borne of little cap space for free agents and even less interest by potential trade partners for, say, Hassan Whiteside.   

THE LIST: DOLPHINS HEAD COACHES BY TENURE: Miami has had nine full-time head coaches. Their rank by tenure based on total regular-season games:

Coach                    Games    Years        Win Pct.

Don Shula                392       1970-95     .659

Dave Wannstedt        73       2000-04     .575

Jimmy Johnson         64       1996-99     .563

Tony Sparano            61       2008-11     .475

George Wilson          56       1966-69     .278

Joe Philbin               52       2012-15     .462

Adam Gase               32       2016-        .500

Nick Saban               32       2005-06     .469

Cam Cameron           16       2007         .063

Note: The three interim head coaches have been Dan Campbell (12 games in 2015), Jim Bates (7 in '04) and Todd Bowles (3 in '11).

OUR APSE-HONORED COLUMNSThe Associated Press Sports Editors 2018 writing awards ranked me a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Thanks, APSE. Here are the nominated columns that earned the honor: At Doral, an annual tradition since 1962 is replaced by silence, and by what's missing  /  Marlins' Jose Fernandez statue is divisive yet has a chance to serve a greater purpose  /  NFL has moral obligation to help Buonicontis and Kiicks while it limits future suffering  /  What led to El Clasico Miami began with Joe Robbie's unlikely, accidental love of soccer  / With 59 home runs, Stanton still had a magic season. Just hope this wasn't goodbye.

Revisit our blog often because we update and add to our latest posts throughout the day.

Twitter @gregcote

July 18, 2018

All-Star Game vs. Home Run Derby. Your preference? New poll. Vote now!; plus Marlins at the break and signs of budding progress on Jeter's plan. My latest column & more

GREG COTE'S RANDOM EVIDENCE BLOG: MIAMI. SPORTS. AND BEYOND.

1) It's TUESDAY, JULY 17. Click on Greg Cote Tuesday for the best-of podcast from today's LeBatard Show. 2) Delight the Dolfans in your life with the surprise of our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out here on Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10, your Miami MLS vs. Melreese verdict, 4-Man Outfield & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Harper AsgPOLL: MLB ALL-STAR GAME VS. HOME RUN DERBY: Baseball is still out front with its All-Star Game, which Miami hosted a year ago, and whose 89th edition is tonight. Because of its tradition and because it matters a bit, it kicks the ass of the Pro Bowl, the NBA All-Star Game and whatever the NHL keeps tinkering with every year. But this is a reasonable poll question because the Home Run Derby is a "thing" again, revitalized by the addition of a time clock adding urgency and drama (and Monday night's edition was a good one). I personally prefer the ASG (also a good one last night; AL 8-6 in 10 innings). Don't really get everybody swooning over the Derby -- like it's so great that professional longball hitters can mash against grooved 50-mph slowballs. It's like watching a men's softball game. But I know many seem to prefer the Derby. So here's your turn. Which do you prefer? Put another way: Which would you watch of you could pick only one? Vote now:

JeterMARLINS AT THE BREAK: SMALL SIGNS OF PROGRESS ON JETER'S PLAN: I'm not overselling the progress we've seen in the past six weeks or so, when the Marlins have gone a credible 21-18 after once being 20-39. The road to where they want to be -- a playoff contender -- may take a few more years of hard travel. But we are seeing indications and signs of the right direction. As I write in my latest column: "Derek Jeter is not entitled to stand on any soapbox and crow, 'I told you so!' But he is entitled to believe he might gradually be winning some benefit of doubt on his ground-up rebuild." Critics including myself decried his offseason fire sale, the salary-dump trades of Giancarlo Stanton,Christian Yelich, Marcell Ozuna and Dee Gordon. But the bounty of prospects in return has restored the health of Miami's minor-league system and solidified the franchise's foundation. We are seeing the signs. The budding proof. To read in full my latest column, click Reasons For Hope As Jeter Plan Takes Root.

Other recent columns: Our two last week on the Miami MLS soccer stadium debate vs. Melreese golf: Beckham Group's New Theme Song: It Don't Come Easy and Let The Voters Decide. Also: Why 'Melo To Miami Would Be Strange MarriageLeBron-to-Lakers A Decision Worth Applauding7 Reasons the Dolphins Could Be OK. Time to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports TownCan Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? When 3 World Cup Legends Were OursEnd the Illogical Shame and Get Howard in the HallTannehill's Defining Season. And Heading For Home: An Ode to Jim Morris. (For our column page, browse MiamiHerald/GregCote).

OUR APSE-HONORED COLUMNSThe Associated Press Sports Editors 2018 writing awards ranked me a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Thanks, APSE. Here are the nominated columns that earned the honor: At Doral, an annual tradition since 1962 is replaced by silence, and by what's missing  /  Marlins' Jose Fernandez statue is divisive yet has a chance to serve a greater purpose  /  NFL has moral obligation to help Buonicontis and Kiicks while it limits future suffering  /  What led to El Clasico Miami began with Joe Robbie's unlikely, accidental love of soccer  / With 59 home runs, Stanton still had a magic season. Just hope this wasn't goodbye.

Revisit our blog often because we update and add to our latest posts throughout the day.

Twitter @gregcote

July 14, 2018

Delay means fight continues for Beckham's Miami MLS dream. My latest column; plus soccer vs. Melreese poll (last day to vote!), Heat's curious courtship of Carmelo, refreshing World Cup final, newest Back In My Day video (Lawnmowers!) & more

GREG COTE'S RANDOM EVIDENCE BLOG: MIAMI. SPORTS. AND BEYOND.

1) It's SATURDAY, JULY 14. Thanks to Ari Odzer and NBC6 for featuring us in their David Beckham/soccer report. Enjoyed it. 2) Hope all of you friggatriskaidekaphobes had a wonderful Friday the 13th! 3) Surprise the Dolfans in your life. Give them our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out on Amazon. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10. your World Cup rooting-interest verdict, 4-Man Outfield & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Miami Freedom ParkBIG BLOW (OR MAYBE NOT) TO BECKHAM GROUP'S MIAMI MLS DREAM: The Miami City Commission last night tabled until a special meeting Wednesday the vote whether to allow Miami MLS soccer on the November ballot. It may prove to  have been a crushing defeat. May also prove to have been a mere six-day delay; we'll see. For my latest column, click Beckham Group's New Theme Song: It Don't Come Easy. In my prior column on this issue I urged the Miami City Commission to vote to allow the Miami Freedom Park/soccer stadium initiative on the November ballot. That is where the Beckham group's Major League Soccer expansion team hopes to build its new stadium. The rendering of what is conceived as a "world-class soccer village" is pictured at right. Controversially, it would be built where the Melreese golf course now stands, displacing the First Tee youth campus and angering many golfers. I delve into the issue and explain my support for the stadium issue getting onto the ballot. For that column, click Let The Voters Decide. Have your say in the poll below:

Other most recent columnsLeBron-to-Lakers A Decision Worth ApplaudingLeBron's 1 Choice to Meet His Legacy Head-OnMLS Miami Says All Are Welcome7 Reasons the Dolphins Could Be OK. And Time to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports Town.

MeloON HEAT'S CURIOUS COURTSHIP OF CARMELO ANTHONY: ESPN's fabulously all-knowing Adrian Wojnarowski first reported that Oklahoma City had granted permission for Carmelo Anthony (pictured) to shop himself around, and that the Miami Heat and Houston Rockets were among the first suitors. 'Melo is 34, a defensive liability and coming off the worst shooting season of his career, yet Erik Spoelstra reportedly is enamored of him. In my recent column I explore the Heat's interest, the motivation behind it and what it says about the state of the franchise in the summer of '18. To read the column in full, click Why 'Melo To Miami Would Be Strange Marriage

WcupWORLD CUP: TWO TEAMS LEFT. IMMORTALITY AWAITS ONE: France beat neighbor Belgium 1-0 Tuesday in the first World Cup semifinal from Russia, and yesterday Croatia ousted England 2-1 in extra time. To many experts both results were upsets, especially the latter. Three thoughts: 1) This has been an interesting, refreshing World Cup despite (from an American vantage) the absence of a U.S. team. 2) Refreshing? This was the first World Cup final-four ever that did not include traditional giants Brazil, Germany, Argentina, Italy or Spain. Bad for them. Good for the sport. It conveys a narrowing of the talent gap, giving hope to the nations (like the U.S.) still trying to make their international mark. 3) No matter what happens from here the champion will feel new. France last won in 1998 and Croatia has never won. (England last won in distant 1966, and Belgium had never won). I hoped for a France-England final. Why bother with the pretense of impartiality? I'm sure Fox TV did, too, for its ratings. Then again, undeterred that the U.S. didn't qualify, I still say, "Let's gooooo States!"

NEW 'BACK IN MY DAY' VIDEO: LAWNMOWERS!: I stumbled a bit on the dismount, but otherwise a well-received BIMD that debuted on Tuesday's LeBatard Show on ESPN Radio and ESPNews:

OUR APSE-HONORED COLUMNSThe Associated Press Sports Editors 2018 writing awards ranked me a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Thanks, APSE. Here are the nominated columns that earned the honor: At Doral, an annual tradition since 1962 is replaced by silence, and by what's missing  /  Marlins' Jose Fernandez statue is divisive yet has a chance to serve a greater purpose  /  NFL has moral obligation to help Buonicontis and Kiicks while it limits future suffering  /  What led to El Clasico Miami began with Joe Robbie's unlikely, accidental love of soccer  / With 59 home runs, Stanton still had a magic season. Just hope this wasn't goodbye.

Other select more recent columnsCan Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? When 3 World Cup Legends Were OursEnd the Illogical Shame and Get Howard in the HallJeter Must Restore Faith Before He Can WinTannehill's Defining SeasonHeading For Home: An Ode to Jim Morris. (For our column page, browse MiamiHerald/GregCote).

Revisit our blog often because we update and add to our latest posts throughout the day.

Twitter @gregcote

June 28, 2018

7 reasons why the Dolphins may surprise doubters. New column; plus get off Miami's back! In defense of us as a sports town; also, latest Back In My Day video (License Plates!), Greg Norman wearing nuthin' but a hat & more

GREG COTE'S RANDOM EVIDENCE BLOG: MIAMI. SPORTS. AND BEYOND.

Newsprintpants1) It's THURSDAY, JUNE 28. A Facebook friend passed along the photo at right, and I share it as a public service in a continuing effort to save the print version of the American newspaper. Because what better way to remind people to ready a classic newspaper than by wearing form-hugging newsprint pants! 2) Delight the Dolfans in your life with the perfect anytime-gift: our 'Fins At 50' book. Their reaction is sure to be: "Wait. Greg Cote wrote a BOOK!?" Click on Amazon to check it out. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10, Heat in NBA purgatory, 4-Man Outfield & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

RtTHE 7 VARIABLES THAT COULD UNLOCK A SURPRISING DOLPHINS SEASON: An analysis this week by Pro Football Focus ranked the 32 NFL rosters 1 through 32 based on projected 2018 starting lineups and how those players fared in 2017. The Dolphins were ranked a rather depressing 26th. But that failed to consider seven things that will be different about the Fins this year that were not factored in the ranking. I bring them to you in my latest column. The obvious one is the return from injury of quarterback Ryan Tannehill (pictured). Some of the others may surprise you. Miami needs all or most of them to fall right to surprise doubters and be a playoff contender. To read that latest column, click 7 Reasons the Dolphins Could Be OK.

RespectHEY, YOU! GET OFF MIAMI'S BACK!: "Miami is a lousy sports town!" Yada yada yada. I am so tired of hearing that. It's a lazy, rote generality, a perpetuating myth. It stands on the same old wobbly legs, such as the Dolphins' playoff-win drought, Marlins crowds or the fact Heat fans tend to show up fashionably late. We are bigger than that. The success of our teams and even fan support are only a part of the whole. There are many other factors that should make sports fans who live here feel fortunate to be amid such variety and major events. Our plate is full, and getting fuller. To read this week's column, click Time to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports Town.

Other most recent columns: Can Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? The Championship Coach Who Got AwayWhen 3 World Cup Legends Were Ours. Also: Mickelson's Major Breach Deserves ForgivenessA Deflated World Cup Thanks to no-USAEnd the Illogical Shame and Get Howard in the HallJeter Must Restore Faith Before He Can WinIn Search of the Dolphins' Elusive Grand Plan. Tannehill's Defining SeasonHeading For Home: An Ode to Jim Morris.

Gnorman2IT'S ESPN'S ANNUAL CELEBRATION OF ATHLETE VANITY!: Now out: ESPN's 10th annual 'Body' issue, in which 16 athletes celebrate their own physiques by agreeing to be photographed tastefully undressed. By tastefully I mean they don't show any bleep or any blank. It is artfully done, I give them that. But it's such an excess of vanity. It's like when teenage girls Tweets out selfies looking their most Kardashian. This is the professional athlete version. LOOK AT MEEE!!! Modesty? What's that!? The fame and attention and applause these athletes get evidently is not enough. I wanted to choose a photo that for me exemplifies the absurdity of the ESPN 'Body' franchise, and so here is 63-year-old golfer Greg Norman being photographed pretending to drive a golf ball, incongruously wearing nothing but a black cowboy hat. "Hello, security? Yes we have reports of a man on the 8th tee box wearing only a cowboy hat. Having said that, he just poked it a good 290 right down the middle! What a swing. And the club, too." Fore!

PlatesNEW 'BACK IN MY DAY': LICENSE PLATES!: The new Back In My Day video debuted Tuesday on the LeBatard Show on ESPN Radio. I rail against people who can't figure out the mystery of the license plate registration decal -- how you're supposed to stick this year's decal directly over last year's, not display them separately all over the damned plate. Enjoy. Unless you're one of those decal abusers (see photo), in which case ... be embarrassed.

OUR APSE-HONORED COLUMNSThe Associated Press Sports Editors 2018 writing awards ranked me a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Thanks, APSE. Here are the nominated columns that earned the honor: At Doral, an annual tradition since 1962 is replaced by silence, and by what's missing  /  Marlins' Jose Fernandez statue is divisive yet has a chance to serve a greater purpose  /  NFL has moral obligation to help Buonicontis and Kiicks while it limits future suffering  /  What led to El Clasico Miami began with Joe Robbie's unlikely, accidental love of soccer  / With 59 home runs, Stanton still had a magic season. Just hope this wasn't goodbye. (For our more recent columns, browse MiamiHerald/GregCote).

Revisit our blog often because we update and add to our latest posts throughout the day.

Twitter @gregcote

June 23, 2018

Heat in purgatory. Can Riley get them out? Latest column; plus when 3 World Cup legends were ours, Panthers stuff, 6 Dolphins in Fantasy Top 200, forgiving Phil, latest Back In My Day & more

GREG COTE'S RANDOM EVIDENCE BLOG: MIAMI. SPORTS. AND BEYOND.

Floatinghat1) It's SATURDAY, JUNE 23. Hurricanes' Lonnie Walker celebrates his first-round NBA Draft selection by the Spurs by standing beside commissioner Adam Silver while wearing a Floating Hat. Anybody who has seen Lonnie's tall, vertical-dreads hairstyle knows why the hat is floating. 2) Click on El Quatro Lobos to see video of myself and three members of the LeBatard Show's Shipping Container rehearsing as a barbershop quartet. 3) Delight the Dolfans in your life with the perfect anytime-gift: our 'Fins At 50' book. Their reaction is sure to be: "Wait. Greg Cote wrote a BOOK!?" Click on Amazon to check it out. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10, 4-Man Outfield & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

RilesNewest column: Heat is in NBA purgatory. Can Riley find a way out?: NBA purgatory is having a pretty good team with no clear path to being great. The Heat is there right now. I explore how they got there and whether Pat Riley can get them out in my latest column. It may be Riley's last great challenge. To read, click Heat's Purgatory Is Riley's Challenge. 

Previous column: Wishing Panthers had gone after Barry Trotz: It wasn't that Bob Boughner deserved to be fired. It was that these were not ordinary circumstances, with a pedigreed, championship coach suddenly available in Barry Trotz. I wish the Panthers had been bold, thought big and made an aggressive play. For that column, click The Championship Coach Who Got Away.

Cubillasnow Mullernow BanksnowWHEN 3 WORLD CUP LEGENDS WERE OURS...: English 'keeper Gordon Banks. German striker Gerd Muller. Peruvian maestro Teofilo (Nene) Cubillas. All made their mark in World Cups, then spent their career winters Ftlstrplaying for the Fort Lauderdale Strikers of the then-vibrant NASL in a span from 1977 to '83. We share what made them World Cup heroes, how they fared as Strikers and what they're doing now in a fond reminiscence. The old Strikers captain who played with them all, Ray Hudson, joins us for the ride. Banks, Muller and Cubillas are pictured, left to right, in recent photos. to read the full column, click When 3 World Cup Legends Were Ours.

FLORIDA PANTHERS TRADE FOR TALENT ... AND A POTENTIAL MESS: The trade with San Jose on Tuesday brings left wing Mike Hoffman and a seventh-round pick in this week's NHL Draft top Florida in exchange for the Panthers' picks in the second, fourth and fifth rounds. It seems a decent trade on the face of it. Hoffman is in his prime at 28 and is a steady scorer who has totaled Hoffman104 goals for Ottawa the past four seasons. But. But! Hoffman comes with baggage that forced him out of Ottawa and then saw San Jose flip him just hours after acquiring him. Find more details here. The essential background, via ESPN.com: On May 4 Melinda Karlsson, wife of the Ottawa captain, filed an order of protection against Monika Caryk, fiance' of Hoffman, alleging she harassed the Karlssons online following the March death of their child, who was stillborn. (Hoffman and his fiancee are pictured). The Karlssons believe Hoffman's girlfriend made the comments on Mrs. Karlsson's Instagram account under a pseudonym. Hoffman and his fiance' deny it all. "It's 150 percent that it's not us," Hoffman told the Ottawa Citizen. "We have nothing to hide. We're willing to cooperate in any way to solve this and prove that it wasn't us." The potential mess did not catch Panthers GM Dale Tallon offguard. "We did our homework and we discussed it with a lot of different people," he said. "We feel that that's in the past. We're very confident he'll be embraced by our team and by their wives and girlfriends. We have a strong culture down there now and I think talking with Mike and all the parties that it will work out to our benefit." It's a huge risk, though. "Burner" accounts on Twitter just led to the Philadelphia 76ers sacking their GM Bryan Colangelo in disgrace. Social media can be a dangerous thing. If it can be proven that Hoffman's fiance cyberbullied another player's wife, taunting her about the death of a child, well, that's the stuff that can ruin not only a relationship, but a career. I hope Hoffman is right that he and his future wife are "150 percent" innocent." I hope Tallon is right that it's in the past and won't still be a lingering cloud as the new season nears.

SIX DOLPHINS MAKE ESPN'S 2018 FANTASY TOP 200: Now out, never too early, ESPN's 2018 Fantasy Top 200 for point-per-reception (PPR) leagues, led by No. 1 overall Le'Veon Bell, the Pittsburgh running back. List includes six Dolphins, with the top-ranked Fin pictured:

KdrakeNo. 44 Kenyan Drake (RB18)

No. 69 DeVante Parker (WR 35)

No. 103 Kenny Stills (WR 48)

No. 134 Albert Wilson (WR 65)

No. 194 Frank Gore (RB59)

No. 198 Mike Gesicki (TE20)

Also notable: Former FIU Panther -- WR T.Y. Hilton (27th overall). Former Miami Hurricanes -- RB Duke Johnson (59th), TE Greg Olsen (73rd), TE Jimmy Graham (90th), WR Allen Hurns (115th) and TE David Njoku (147th). Ex-Dolphins -- WR Jarvis Landry (42nd), RB Jay Ajayi (46th), RB Lamar Miller (76th, also an ex-Cane), TE Charles Clay (141st), Ted Ginn Jr. (157th) and WR Mike Wallace (165th).

PhilOUR OTHER LATEST COLUMNS: PHIL MICKELSON, LEBRON, WORLD CUP: Scorn for Phil Mickelson after his bizzare U.S. Open rules-breaking is easy. Forgiveness takes more effort. Can we? For my latest column, click on Mickelson's Major Breach Deserves Forgiveness. Also, the NBA is winning the offseason, again, and the superstar shuffle is one reason why. For that column click The New Frontrunner to Land LeBron (Maybe). And our two World Cup columns: A Deflated World Cup Thanks to no-USA, and, on why Miami likely will host WC matches in 2026: 1 Dreamed It, 1 Made It Happen. Also: End the Illogical Shame and Get Howard in the HallJeter Must Restore Faith Before He Can WinIn Search of the Dolphins' Elusive Grand PlanUninvited Eagles Latest Pawns In Trump's SubterfugeTannehill's Defining Season,  Heading For Home: An Ode to Jim Morris and Confessions of a Lifelong Dolfan.

NEW 'BACK IN MY DAY': BATHROOM TIME!: Those offended by a little  bathroom humor might want to skip my latest BIMD, which debuted on Tuesday's LeBatard Show on ESPN Radio and ESPNews. Enjoy.

OUR APSE-HONORED COLUMNSThe Associated Press Sports Editors 2018 writing awards ranked me a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Thanks, APSE. Here are the nominated columns that earned the honor: At Doral, an annual tradition since 1962 is replaced by silence, and by what's missing  /  Marlins' Jose Fernandez statue is divisive yet has a chance to serve a greater purpose  /  NFL has moral obligation to help Buonicontis and Kiicks while it limits future suffering  /  What led to El Clasico Miami began with Joe Robbie's unlikely, accidental love of soccer  / With 59 home runs, Stanton still had a magic season. Just hope this wasn't goodbye. (For our more recent columns, browse MiamiHerald/GregCote).

Revisit our blog often because we update and add to our latest posts throughout the day.

Twitter @gregcote

June 13, 2018

GOAL! Miami will host World Cup matches in 2026, and here's why. My new column; plus our continuing quixotic campaign to get Schnellenberger into College Football Hall of Fame, me on LeBatard psychiatrist's couch & more

GREG COTE'S RANDOM EVIDENCE BLOG: MIAMI. SPORTS. AND BEYOND.

1) It's WEDNESDAY, JUNE 13. If you missed it from last week's LeBatard Show, here's one last chance to hear me rapping my favorite hip-hop song. Click on Cote Does California Love. 2) Delight the Dolfans in your life with the perfect anytime-gift: our 'Fins At 50' book. Their reaction is sure to be: "Wait. Greg Cote wrote a BOOK!?" Click on Amazon to check it out. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10, Marlins' 25th Anniversary Weekend, The List (worst Marlins seasons) & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

UniteedMIAMI WILL HOST 2026 WORLD CUP MATCHES, AND HERE'S WHY: FIFA today awarded the 2026 soccer World Cup, the next available, to a joint bid by the United States, Mexico and Canada, and Miami and Hard Rock Stadium are strongly favored to be among host venues selected. That is because of the vision and determination of two men, as I write in my new column. To read it, click 1 Dreamed It, 1 Made It Happen

ON THE PSYCHIATRIST'S COUCH WITH LEBATARD SHOW: This is one of the stranger bits we've done, from yesterday's LeBatard Show on ESPN Radio:

HowardcelebratesOUR QUIXOTIC CAMPAIGN TO GET HOWARD SCHNELLENBERGER INTO THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME: [Quixotic (pronounced kwik-sahtik). Adjective meaning exceedingly idealistic; unrealistic and impractical] It should not be quixotic, this pursuit of mine. It is only because one of the National Football Foundation's Howardpipe Howardrecentrules of eligibility of coaches for consideration for its Hall of Fame is hard and fast with a minimum .600 career winning percentage, which Schnellenberger does not meet. Why does he fall short? Because he spent a career taking on the challenge of losing programs, turning Miami from mediocre into a national champion, making losing Louisville relevant for the first time, and creating FAU's program from literally nothing. He is on the coaching Mount Rushmore of three different programs -- an extraordinary feat worthy of the Hall of Fame. My goal: That the PipeupNFF not change its .600 rule but rather consider exceptions to it when warranted. Howard is 84, folks. He ain't got all day. To read my column, click End the Illogical Shame and Get Howard in the Hall. (Howard is pictured left in his Pipe Days and more recently, and at right holding aloft the 1983 national championship trophy).

Other most recent columns: Jeter Must Restore Faith Before He Can WinIn Search of the Dolphins' Elusive Grand PlanUninvited Eagles Latest Pawns In Trump's SubterfugeHandicapping the LeBron Summer SweepstakesAlso: When Sports Stopped Being All Fun & GamesThe King, Indeed: LeBron Tops MichaelNFL Hiding Problem And Hoping It Goes AwayTannehill's Defining Season,  Heading For Home: An Ode to Jim Morris and Confessions of a Lifelong Dolfan.

4manof'THE FOUR-MAN OUTFIELD' (UPDATED): BRINSON NEARS .170!: (Oops we forgot to run this over the weekend, so here it is). Throughout the MLB season -- just for fun -- I'm comparing and updating the ongoing performances of the three Marlins outfield starters traded away during the offseason and current Marlins center fielder Lewis Brinson, the best prospect to arrive in the deals. Unfair to compare three established stars with a rookie? Boo hoo. Who said life was fair! Plus, remember: Just for fun! We base our rankings on OPS (on-base plus slugging). The updated 4-Man Outfield appears every Sunday and Monday in the blog, when we remember. The latest:

Player, Team                                  OPS     G   AB   R   H   BI   D-T-HR    AVG. 

1. Christian Yelich, Brewers       .859   54  215   42  66   28  10-2-8      .307

2. Giancarlo Stanton, Yankees    .810   61 238  40  58   34  11-1-15      .244

3. Marcell Ozuna, Cardinals        .735   60 234  26  66   34   6-1-7        .282

4. Lewis Brinson, Marlins            .530   64  219  15  37   24    3-1-9     .169

OUR APSE CONTEST-HONORED COLUMNSThe Associated Press Sports Editors 2018 writing awards ranked me the No. 5 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Thanks, APSE. Here are the nominated columns that earned the honor: At Doral, an annual tradition since 1962 is replaced by silence, and by what's missing  /  Marlins' Jose Fernandez statue is divisive yet has a chance to serve a greater purpose  /  NFL has moral obligation to help Buonicontis and Kiicks while it limits future suffering  /  What led to El Clasico Miami began with Joe Robbie's unlikely, accidental love of soccer  / With 59 home runs, Stanton still had a magic season. Just hope this wasn't goodbye. (For all of our most recent columns, browse MiamiHerald/GregCote).

Revisit our blog often because we update and add to our latest posts throughout the day.

Twitter @gregcote

June 09, 2018

Forbes' 100 richest athletes: Five with Miami ties make it and here's who they are; plus Marlins 25th Anniversary weekend, R.I.P. Anthony Bourdain, me rapping 'California Love,' in search of Dolphins' Grand Plan & more

GREG COTE'S RANDOM EVIDENCE BLOG: MIAMI. SPORTS. AND BEYOND.

Bourdain1) It's SATURDAY, JUNE 9. Stunned to hear that chef and travel host Anthony Bourdain, 61 (pictured), had taken  his own life. The demons can be so invisible. I hope he has found the peace that eluded him. 2) Delight the Dolfans in your life with the perfect anytime-gift: our 'Fins At 50' book. Their reaction is sure to be: "Wait. Greg Cote wrote a BOOK!?" Click on Amazon to check it out. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): In search of Dolphins' Grand Plan, how Trump hijacked NFL protest cause, LeBron Summer Sweepstakes, The List (NBA Finals sweeps) & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

25logoMarlins' 25th Anniversary weekend: They're the Florida Marlins again, at least temporarily. Fish are back home and in the old teal this weekend vs. San Diego with events marking the franchise's 25th Anniversary season, including an alumni softball game before Sunday's game. The club's anniversary logo is pictured. Fish opened homestand (and celebration weekend) with a 4-0 win on Caleb Smith's gem last night. The rebuild-of-a-season hasn't been one to celebrate, but let nostalaia win the weekend.

CaliloveMe rapping 'California Love." No, seriously: On the LeBatard Show this week it came up that my favorite hip-hop song is "California Love" by Tupuc Shakur with Dr. Dre. I started doing it. The result is one of those simultaneous moments of both intense shame and unfettered delight. Listeners started giving me rap names, including Lil Weezy (I've had a cough) and Notorious O.L.D. Thanks to @Ryan_Cortes for the audio here. To listen: Cote Does California Love. 

FIVE WITH MIAMI TIES AMONG FORBES' 100 RICHEST ATHLETES: Forbes today drops its annual list of the Top 100 richest athletes in the world over the past year, including salary and endorsements, and five men with Miami ties (three current, two former) make the list. Boxer Floyd Mayweather tops the list at $285 million, with the rest of the top 10 populated by Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Conor McGregor, Neymar, LeBron James, Roger Federer, Steph Curry, Matt Ryan and Matthew Stafford. Notably, zero female athletes make the list. Click Top 100 for the full list. The five Miami athletes or ex's to make it:

RtNo. 32: Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins quarterback, $35.2 million -- Forbes includes Tannehill's near-$18 million salary from last season plus "an upfront $16.7 million payday early in 2018 when the Dolphins converted almost all of his 2018 base salary into a bonus to provide cap room for the team." Notably, his income includes only $500,000 in endorsements (Adidas), quite low for an NFL starting QB. Nevertheless, life is good for Mr. and Mrs. Tannehill (pictured). Tannehill is signed through 2020, but neither of the last two seasons of his deal include any guaranteed money.

No. 42: Dwyane Wade, Heat guard, $31.8 million -- Notably almost half of Wade's income ($14M) is from endorsements. Forbes: "The 12-time All-Star remains a prolific endorser with a dozen partners. His biggest pact is his shoe deal with Chinese brand Li-Ning. He joined the brand in 2012 and was given an equity stake in addition to his multi-million annual guarantee." 

No. 65: Chris Bosh, former Heat forward, $26.3 million -- Includes $1 million in endorsements income. Heat waived Bosh in July 2017 due to medical issues (blood clots) but he has not officially retired. Forbes: "The Heat are on the hook for the remainder of his contract, which ends after the 2018-19 season when he will earn $26.8 million."

No. 77: Hassan Whiteside, Heat center, $24.5 million -- Includes $750K in endorsements. Forbes: "Whiteside re-signed with Heat for $98 million over four years during the summer of 2016. Injuries limited him to 54 games this past season, and the center frequently complained about his minutes when healthy. Heat and Whiteside could be headed for a divorce."

No. 92: Jarvis Landry, former Dolphins receiver, $23.2 million -- Includes $750 in endorsements. Forbes: "Cleveland locked up Landry with a blockbuster five-year, $75.5 million contract. The $47 million in guaranteed money is tied for the third-most ever for a wide receiver. Landry is an aspiring musician and is interning this summer at record label Quality Control Music, which is home to acts like Migos and Lil Yachty."

Gase NEWEST COLUMNS: ON DOLPHINS, TRUMP/NFL: Do Adam Gase's Dolphins have a map on how to get from here to really good? A plan? This offseason has underlined Trumpdoubts. I tackle the state of the Dolphins in my latest column. To read it, click In Search of the Dolphins' Elusive Grand Plan. In my previous column I explore how President Trump's awful yet calculated and politically self-serving subterfuge -- lying -- has brilliantly (for him) hijacked the NFL's anthem protest cause to wrongly make it about the flag and patriotism instead of about police shootings of unarmed black men, about racism, profiling and social injustice. To read that column, click on Uninvited Eagles Latest Pawns In Trump's Subterfuge.

Other recent columns: Handicapping the LeBron Summer Sweepstakes -- now underway with last night's Cavs elimination by an NBA Finals sweep / When Sports Stopped Being All Fun & Games / The King, Indeed: LeBron Tops Michael / NFL Hiding Problem And Hoping It Goes Away / Tannehill's Defining Season / A Solution To Jeter's Impatience / Heading For Home: An Ode to Jim Morris / Confessions of a Lifelong Dolfan.

OUR APSE CONTEST-HONORED COLUMNSThe Associated Press Sports Editors 2018 writing awards ranked me the No. 5 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Thanks, APSE. Here are the nominated columns that earned the honor: At Doral, an annual tradition since 1962 is replaced by silence, and by what's missing  /  Marlins' Jose Fernandez statue is divisive yet has a chance to serve a greater purpose  /  NFL has moral obligation to help Buonicontis and Kiicks while it limits future suffering  /  What led to El Clasico Miami began with Joe Robbie's unlikely, accidental love of soccer  / With 59 home runs, Stanton still had a magic season. Just hope this wasn't goodbye. (For all of our most recent columns, browse MiamiHerald/GregCote).

Revisit our blog often because we update and add to our latest posts throughout the day.

Twitter @gregcote